The Overactive Ileostomy
An overactive ileostomy can result from a variety of problems. If the small bowel is inflamed due to Crohn's disease, radiation injury, or bacterial/viral enteritis, the output will be profuse. If there is narrowing of the small bowel close to the stoma, where the ileostomy goes through the abdominal wall, a pressure backup can lead to explosive high output.
Any food that has a laxative effect should be eliminated or, at best, kept to a minimum. People with lactose intolerance will have high output if they use any kind of milk product, including powdered milk, which is found in many prepared foods.
Excessive drinking of fluids will also increase the ileostomy output. An ostomate who has had a gall bladder removed may have increased output. Medicines to counteract bile salts can be used if the problem is related to gall bladder removal. Many prescriptions and OTC drugs list diarrhea as a side effect.
The ostomate should work with his physician to evaluate the problem. Once disease can be ruled out, therapeutic emphasis can be placed on diet, utilizing foods that decrease output. Bulk laxatives can be used with each meal to absorb and solidify some of the liquid output.
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Content last revised 2001-09-15